Bat­man

The joke’s on every­body

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Promotion -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW! $ 3.99 per is­sue | Pub­lisher: DC Writer: Scott Sny­der Artists: Greg Ca­pullo, Jonathan Gla­pion

Three years on, and DC’s de­ci­sion to get Scott Sny­der to write their main Bat­man ti­tle is still the most suc­cess­ful as­pect of the New 52 re­boot. Right from the start, Sny­der and artis­tic part­ners Greg Ca­pullo and Jonathan Gla­pion have shown an in­stinc­tive tal­ent for telling en­er­getic and sur­pris­ing Bat­man tales, and their lat­est shows ex­actly how am­bi­tious they’re pre­pared to get.

Hav­ing re­cently re­de­fined Bat­man’s ori­gin story with the epic “Zero Year”, it would have been easy ( and un­der­stand­able) for Sny­der and co to rest on their lau­rels for a while. In­stead, they’ve hit the ac­cel­er­a­tor with “Endgame”, a tale that cel­e­brates Bat­man’s 75th an­niver­sary while also giv­ing us a new per­spec­tive on his most in­fa­mous arch- en­emy.

“Endgame” opens with an un­ex­pected fight, as the Jus­tice League abruptly go af­ter Bat­man with lethal in­tent. Un­for­tu­nately, it turns out that the League has been af­fected by an ad­vanced form of Joker toxin – and while Bat­man nar­rowly sur­vives this bru­tal show­down, he then dis­cov­ers that his grin­ning nemesis is think­ing much big­ger than be­fore…

At the time of writ­ing we’re four is­sues into this six- is­sue arc, and while Sny­der isn’t ex­pand­ing the story to the size of “Zero Year”, he’s achiev­ing an im­pres­sive and apoc­a­lyp­tic scale. From the open­ing Jus­tice League fight to Gotham’s de­scent into Joker- in­sti­gated chaos, it’s a bril­liantly thrilling adventure that also presents us with a dar­ing and al­ter­na­tive take on the Joker’s ori­gin story.

Whether “Endgame”’ s un­set­tling de­vel­op­ments are stick­ing around or due to be refuted at the story’s cli­max re­mains to be seen, but Sny­der’s por­trayal of the Joker is even stronger this time around. No longer the hor­ror- show night­mare from the “Death Of The Fam­ily” sto­ry­line, the Joker has ac­quired a new face but is also more danger­ous and cal­cu­lat­ing than ever, with Sny­der not shy­ing away from the story’s more dis­turb­ing mo­ments.

This is fast- paced, full- throt­tle su­per­hero comic sto­ry­telling at the top of its game – a lit­tle rough around the edges at times, but with a pulp en­ergy that keeps driv­ing it for­ward. Ca­pullo and Gla­pion’s art helps mas­sively with this, blend­ing ki­netic ac­tion with stylish ex­ag­ger­a­tion and de­tailed inks, switch­ing ef­fort­lessly from dizzy­ing fights to scary hor­ror. The back- up strips writ­ten by James Tynion IV are a lit­tle less strong, but still add ef­fec­tive and pow­er­ful de­tails to the rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of the Joker.

“Endgame” is cur­rently head­ing for a spec­tac­u­lar cli­max, con­tin­u­ing Sny­der’s im­pres­sive work on the ti­tle while also act­ing as a wor­thy 75th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion. One thing ’s for sure – when Sny­der and Ca­pullo’s run even­tu­ally ends, who­ever takes over for them on Bat­man is go­ing to have one hell of an act to fol­low. Saxon Bul­lock Scott Sny­der says that “Endgame” will be the last time he uses the Joker. What’s next? “A very sharp left turn”, ap­par­ently…

Yeah, we prob­a­bly have, on bal­ance.

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